February busy for Team Little Rock

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Wow! What a great way to start the month of February. On Feb. 1, we had the distinct pleasure of escorting Maj. Gen. Irving Halter, Jr., 19th Air Force commander, and his wife, Judy, to Little Rock Air Force Base's 2007 annual awards ceremony. Twelve annual award winners from across the base -- Airmen, officers and civilians - the best-of-the-best in their respective areas were named. 

Congratulations to winners and nominees alike! The competition was fierce and choosing winners was definitely challenging! All who were nominated - not just the award winners - should be proud of their above-and-beyond achievements. These combat airlifter superstars didn't get to where they are alone, however. 

It takes a lot of teamwork in any section for one person to excel. The achievements of these few are something you can all be proud of. 

Maj. Gen. Halter, needless to say, was very impressed by Team Little Rock. The dedication and hard work you put into your days proved self evident. He departed with a great view of the incredible accomplishments achieved right here daily and the critical impact each one of you holds in serving and preserving our nation. 

On Friday, we also had the honor of presenting the Honorable Tommy Swaim, City of Jacksonville mayor, with the Little Rock AFB "Cornerstone Award." This award, created this year, recognizes a civic leader who excels in base and community involvement, Airmen interaction, mission impact and a commitment of service to Team Little Rock. Mayor Swaim has long been a staunch advocate for the men and women of Little Rock AFB. 

He has been our link for 22 years between the civilian community and the military. This award was definitely well-deserved. It, too, was not an easy selection due to the outstanding support of our local communities and their fantastic leaders! 

Looking ahead, February will be very busy. We have much to do to prepare for the upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection in April and not many days remaining for overall preparation. Everyone has a lot on their plate right now. That being said, there are still a few other things to keep on your radar. 

The Deployed Family Dinner, hosted by our base chapel, is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Thomas Community Activities Center. The dinner is free to all families of deployed personnel from across Little Rock AFB. 

We encourage you to come spend some time with other families facing similar struggles that come with holding down the fort at home so our warfighters can focus on the mission. 

The Valentine's for Veterans program gives you another opportunity to honor America's great warfighters. This program salutes hospitalized veterans in our local area. On
Thursday, combat airlifters will be delivering Valentine's Day wishes and Friday they'll be delivering lunch. We encourage you all to support this outstanding program where
mission allows. 

These heroes have given much for their country; it's our turn to give back and say a small "thank you." Check this week's Drop Zone or contact Capt. Anna Murray, our project
officer, at 987-3358. 

February also marks African-American/Black History month. Team Little Rock agencies will host events throughout the month. This is an opportunity to celebrate heritage and diversity while educating others on history and cultural values. Let's celebrate the diversity we have here; without it, we would not be the absolutely amazing Air Force
we are today. 

On a much more somber note, people need to stop driving under the influence. There were three DWI arrests over Super Bowl weekend alone - this is unacceptable! It is like
playing with a loaded gun; at some point, someone will be killed. Three DWI
arrests are three too many. 

We also have had quite a few tragedies recently across Air Education and Training Command and, closer to home, here at "The Rock." We have lost valuable members of Team Little Rock as well as family members. Some incidents were alcohol related;
some were not. Safety is paramount. 

The absolute bottom-line: drinking alcohol and driving needs to stop. It needs to stop now. It will not be tolerated lightly. Also, watch out for others while out on the roads; they may not have safety at the top of their lists. 

You've heard it before: we all need to have a plan, and a backup plan. Wrap your arms around each other and watch out for each other. The loss of one person impacts our lives and our mission significantly. 

You are very important to your families, your friends and your country. Take responsibility for yourselves and each other. We need to stand together, stand strong and help our team stay together and stay alive. Thank you all for your continued dedication to the mission and to your country! 

Combat airlift!